Cathy Duffy is a well known curriculum expert who homeschooled her own three sons through high school. She has researched and written about curricula for home education since the 1980s, Since Cathy is an absolute legend in the homeschooling community, I asked for her thoughts on selecting the very best curriculum for your family.
What Role Does Your Method Of Homeschooling Play In Choosing Curriculum Resources?
Whether I’m eclectic, exclusively unit studies, or anything in between, it’s really an important factor in choosing the right homeschool curriculum.
Sometimes, it sounds like a foreign language. We talk about Charlotte Mason and Classical, Unit Studies and Delight Directed learning. We throw these terms out, but you need to realize the wealth of options you have available to you that are so different than what regular school looks like, especially when you are first getting started homeschooling.
I was a teacher in the public school system. I thought that because I went to college to learn how to be a teacher, I assumed that the way I was taught was the only right way. I had no idea that there were all these different approaches to learning out there.
Where Do I Find The Best Homeschool Resources For My Children?
The amount of material out there is so vast, it’s difficult to begin to make sense of it.
Before you start looking for curriculum, there are a few things to consider to help you narrow down your choices:
- Your preferred method/approach to education
- Your children’s learning styles
- Your teaching preference
- Your goals for each child
Only after you have a sense of these four ingredients do I recommend you start to look for curriculum. It allows you to narrow the options and not be quite so overwhelmed, which is a tremendous benefit.
More than anything, you know your child and their needs best. Use your own knowledge of your child’s needs and abilities to make the final decision when it comes to homeschool curriculum.
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How Do You Know When It’s Time To Change Your Homeschool Curriculum?
How do we know that it’s time to make a change? Well, if you’re in tears every day, then yes, that’s a good indicator. The truth is, sometimes learning is stressful, no matter how good the curriculum. Your kids aren’t always going to want to work at learning. That’s just the reality of it.
Rather than throwing it all out and starting over, I recommend that you try to adapt your existing curriculum a bit to see if it helps. One of the easiest adaptations you can try right off the bat is using games and hands on learning in order to change it up a bit.
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Math is particularly an area where people struggle, and it’s easy to throw in the towel and try to start over with a new curriculum. But a simple math game with dice or a deck of cards can change the learning entirely, without a complete change in curriculum. Try it first and see what difference it makes. If games turn out to be a really good strategy, do more of them.
Likewise, if your children are resisting doing all of the writing, try having them answer some things orally. Play with it a bit and be creative. Don’t worry about what the textbook says you have to do. Don’t worry about doing every problem in a book or every exercise. Do what you see is useful for your children.
If you feel like you’re wasting time on busy work, skip it. First and foremost, we have to do what’s right for our kids.
For More Help In Choosing The Right Homeschool Curriculum
Cathy Duffy is a well known curriculum expert who homeschooled her own three sons through high school. She has researched and written about curricula for home education since the 1980s, and her website, cathyduffyreviews.com is the go to resource for homeschool curriculum reviews. Cathy has also written books that help homeschoolers learn how to choose the resources that will work best for them and their children. Her latest book, 103 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum highlights some of the best products in today’s homeschooling marketplace.
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